The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) arrived at her new homeport, Naval Base Point Loma, after completing an inner-fleet transfer from Groton, Conn., Feb. 2.
With a crew of 160 Sailors and officers, Annapolis is one of five Los Angeles-class submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron (CSS) 11. Families of the crew have been arriving to San Diego prior to the transfer.
Capt. Christopher Cavanaugh, CSS-11 commodore, welcomed the submarine to San Diego and his squadron.
“It’s terrific to see Annapolis on the waterfront after her extended maintenance period, and to have the ship and crew join our Squadron 11 team,” said Cavanaugh. “Annapolis is one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the world and will serve the nation for many more years. She has been an impressive performer during her career in the Atlantic, and I have the highest confidence that she will continue to do great things here in the Pacific.”
During the transfer, USS Annapolis conducted a diverse series of exercises and test events to evaluate and certify the ship’s warfighting capabilities across a range of submarine mission areas.
Cmdr. Kurt Balagna, commanding officer of Annapolis, praised his crew on their performance during the transit.
“This was the first time Annapolis has been in Pacific waters and our number one accomplishment was safe transit over the Pacific and arriving at our new homeport,” said Balagna. “My crew has been in port for four months prior to this underway, went out to sea and was able to operate the submarine to its maximum and impressed me every single day. I could not be more proud of them.”
While transiting to San Diego the crew completed theater security cooperation exercises with maritime patrol aircraft. Twenty-five Sailors qualified in submarines and are now entitled to wear the submarine warfare insignia, also referred to as “Dolphins”, after completing a rigorous qualification process that included in-depth understanding of submarine construction and operations, and also practical assessments of the Sailor’s ability to combat a wide range of casualties that could be encountered while on board the submarine.
A majority of the crew also completed advanced qualifications, including engineering watch supervisor, diving officer of the watch and chief of the watch. These qualifications provide greater watch bill flexibility and help ensure that Annapolis’ performance will remain strong.
In transit, the crew also conducted a time-honored Navy tradition of “crossing the line,” a unique ceremony where the submarine crossed the equator, allowing the crew to qualify as “Trusty Shellbacks.”
“I can’t tell you how happy I am to be home in sunny San Diego” said Balagna, “I’ve been in command for three years and have been waiting to come out here to our new homeport in the Pacific. I couldn’t be more proud of my crew.”
USS Annapolis is the fourth ship to be named for Annapolis, Maryland, site of the U. S. Naval Academy. The boat was built by Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, and the keel was laid down June 15, 1988.
The submarine was christened and launched on May 18, 1991, and commissioned April 11, 1992. At 362-feet long, USS Annapolis is slightly longer than a football field.
MC1 Ronald Gutridge, Submarine Squadron 11